Hen and I studied at Edinburgh University together graduating in 2009, Hen took a very different direction afterwards training as a patisserie chef. It was wonderfully refreshing compared to what most of us were doing. I always loved hearing about it and her enthusiasm was quite contagious. Hen has always taken her own path, doing what she’s passionate about and this really come through in the book. I am so thrilled Clean Cakes has been so well received, with features in Saturday Telegraph magazine, In Style, Country Living, and countless more. She’s also been interviewed on BBC London radio. Her recipes are not only delicious and gluten/dairy/refined-sugar free but they look exquisite. She is an artist and a guru of all things delicious and healthy.
Q & A with Hen
Favourite seasonal ingredients/ decorations for Spring?
At this time of year I love forced rhubarb; the flavour is great and that colour, WOW. For decorating my cakes primroses and violets are in full bloom and are the most wonderful edible flowers to use.
Ingredients which are easy to grow in the garden?
Herbs are great and easy to grow in pots or little plots; they can liven up any dish, and I love using them in my patisserie too.
Your favourite occasion cake from the book?
I’m known in Suffolk for my courgette, basil, lime and pistachio cake with avocado lime cream and raspberry jam so it’s got to be that one. It’s made of three layers of the most delicious light sponge made with coconut flour; the courgette keeps it perfectly soft, the basil and lime add uplifting freshness and the raspberry jam adds a sharp sweet tang, pistachios add a good crunch and contrasting texture. It’s a real summer favourite and great for big occasions.
Where are your favourite places to eat?
I love the Detox Kitchen and Bel-air for their incredible selections of the most delicious salads. East London Juice Co. has the best juices in town and Lyle’s does great coffee. Redemption and Nama foods are fun vegan restaurants; I also love St John’s and Spring Restaurant where Fergus Henderson and Skye Gyngell just focus on using the best possible, seasonal ingredients and keeping things as simple as possible, and oh so delicious! 500 is an amazing restaurant run by Italians on the Holloway Road, it reminds me of living in Bologna when I was 20.
What will you be cooking for Easter?
Wholegrain spelt flour hot cross buns, using organic spelt flour from just down the road at Maple Farm Kelsale, Suffolk. My father will be cooking a gigot qui pleure using local Suffolk lamb; we’ll have vegetables from the garden and I’ll make a crumble for pudding using up all our freezer fruits stored from last summer like gooseberries, blueberries, raspberries and some seasonal rhubarb and topping it with a lovely oat and almond mixture.